JAKARTA, May 7 (Bernama) -- Tenaganita executive director Irene Fernandez
has made a statement criticising the Malaysian government and Malaysian
employers in an interview with an Indonesian English daily on the issue of
migrant workers in Malaysia.
In the question-and-answer article published Monday by The Jakarta Post, she
had among other things lamented on the absence of laws to protect migrant
workers in Malaysia.
"Migrant workers have been objects of exploitation, physical abuse, violence
and rape in line with the emergence of care-giving industries and the
privatisation of health care, which are part of the neo-liberal capitalism which
has damaged Malaysia’s economic system and raised inequalities among migrant
workers, mostly women," she said.
The Indonesian government, she said, should not resume sending workers to
Malaysia until the government and employers change their mindsets and make a
particular law to protect them and their rights.
Fernandez said many employers have breached the immigration law in employing
TENAGANITA-MIGRANT WORKERS 2 (LAST) JAKARTA
"In 2011, we recorded more than 1,500 cases befalling undocumented workers
and 500 cases of employers’ violations of the immigration law. Most undocumented
workers were deported after serving their jail sentence while most employers
were cleared of charges," she said.
Fernandez said labour and child trafficking as well as trade of babies has
been rampant in the country over the past three years and, in Sarawak, women
migrant workers who were victims of human trafficking were raped and forced to
She said Indonesian migrant workers, especially domestic helpers and
gardeners, would continue to face troubles with their employers and the
authorities because, among other things, the revised labour agreement between
Indonesia and Malaysia does not identify their rights, the labour permit is
still held by employers and not by the government, and the minimum wage is not
set for new workers.
"I appreciate the Indonesian government’s policy not to resume the sending
of workers until the bilateral agreement spells out workers’ rights and the
recruitment system is revised to put workers and their employers in an equal
position," she said
The are about two million migrant workers from Indonesia who work mostly as
domestic maids and labourers in the agricultural sector.
AFY AFY MGN